Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Geophysical Research Letters
To understand marine biogeochemical cycles, it is critical to quantitatively balance organic matter transformations within the euphotic zone. Such an assessment for nitrogen is difficult because of lateral advection, uncertainties in individual measurements, the complexity of elemental transformations (including nitrification and denitrification), and the difficulty of collecting data on appropriate space and time scales. Two cruises were conducted to the southern Ross Sea, Antarctica, to understand the time-varying fluxes of nitrogen into its various pools. From these data a balanced inventory was constructed. Nitrate removal in the upper 200 m was balanced by particulate and dissolved organic nitrogen production, ammonification, and vertical flux. In austral spring nearly all (92%) of the new production remained as particulate nitrogen, but this percentage decreased markedly (52%) by mid-summer, when nitrogen regeneration, PN flux, and DON production were 23, 13 and 12% of net production, respectively. The organic matter budget in this coastal Antarctic site is dominated by particle transformations.
organic carbon, export flux, polynya
Smith, Walker O. Jr., A balanced nitrogen budget of the surface layer of the southern Ross Sea, Antarctica (2000). Geophysical Research Letters, 27(17), 2721-2724.